Tuesday, March 25, 2014

25-Man Roster Dissection: Jason Kubel

The front office for the Twins has been employing an interesting tactic this offseason. Let's try and get as many former Twins player back on the roster as possible. The club missed out on free agents Matt Garza and AJ Pierzynski but they signed a trio of former players to minor league contracts for 2014. Jason Bartlett, Jason Kubel, and Matt Guerrier (released yesterday) were brought in at the beginning of spring as they look to get back to their former glory in Minnesota pinstripes.

Out of these three men, Kubel has the best chance of making the Opening Day roster. Bartlett didn't play baseball all of last year as he recovered from knee surgery. Guerrier is battling a lot of solid bullpen options to try and earn a spot in Minnesota's relief core. This leaves Kubel fighting for a designated hitter and outfield spot on the 25-man roster. As the season gets closer to approaching, it's seeming more likely that he will return to Target Field this year.

2013 Recap: .216/.293/.317, 5 HR, 9 2B, 32 RBI (97 Games)
2013 was a season to forget for Jason Kubel. In 2012, he went to Arizona in free agency and smacked a career high 30 home runs. By the end of last season, the Diamondbacks had seen enough and let him walk away before he was picked up by Cleveland for their stretch run. A strained left-quad can be to blame for a lot of his poor performance on the field because the injury never went away and he attempted to play through some of the pain. For the most part, his numbers were all career lows and that gives him plenty of opportunities to make changes moving forward. He's struck out over 85 times in each of the last six seasons so this trend will likely continue during his Minnesota homecoming.

Forecasting 2014: .230/.307/.393, 15 HR, 21 2B, 60 RBI (126 games)
There are plenty of other corner outfield/DH type players already on the Twins 25-man roster but none of them have Kubel's track record. The nine-year veteran has 162-game average of over 20 home runs and 30 doubles. Chris Colabello and Chris Parmelee have struggled to produce at the big league level and they could see themselves losing at-bats to Kubel during the coming season. At Target Field, Kubel is a career .254/.321/.403 hitter with 12 home runs and 20 doubles over 111 games. These numbers are close to his career marks but he is a year older this season. At 31-years old, Kubel will fight for every at-bat he can get and try to hang on to what is left of his big league career. The Twins need his left-handed power to produce and that's why he will make the roster.

25-Man Roster Safety: On the Fringe

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